ways to travel green
Healthy Living

Five Ways to Travel Green

ways to travel green
Photo: Sierra Club

When you think of traveling, you immediately think of environmental impact. No matter how you go, if you are taking yourself and some luggage from one place to another, you are going to have an impact on the planet. Whether you travel for fun or business, the question is how do you minimize that impact and travel as green as possible? This article will provide some tips, depending on your travel method.

 By Bike or On Foot

A great option for local travel, bikes and walking also have very little environmental impact. Rather than driving to a state park, think about making a family bicycle trip to a local park. You can even pack a lunch in bags attached to your bike. Just be sure to pick up your trash and leave the place looking pristine for the next visitor. I own a pair of snowshoes and love to go out walking in the winter. You can also go sledding. All of these are great ways to get exercise and enjoy the environment without making a big negative impact!

When going on a local excursion or traveling only a few hours, a car might be the best option. If you have a hybrid car, you will save the most on both gasoline prices and reduce your carbon footprint. Try to take others along with you – not only will you have more fun, you will reduce your environmental impact per person! Pack lightly so that you can fit as many other passengers in your car as possible and maximize your capacity.

Busses or Other Mass Transit

Taking a bus may not be as fuel efficient as taking a train across the country, but when you are at your destination it can be much more environmentally friendly than taking taxis. In addition, they can save you a lot of money. On an upcoming trip to Los Angeles, I plan to look into using mass transit as a way to get to the various tourist destinations. I know if I take a taxi, I’ll be paying a lot of money as well as using a very inefficient means of travel. I hope to find other options that will have less environmental impact.

By Train

I looked into trains as an option while planning my trip to Los Angeles. I was interested in the way they let you see the country, while still providing high-occupancy travel that has less emissions than an airplane. Unfortunately the time involved did not allow me to take advantage of this travel method, but if you have the time, trains can be an excellent way to travel long distances and still minimize your environmental impact.

By Airplane

While airplanes are known for being highly environmentally impactful, they are a method of high-occupancy travel that can help reduce the impact of going a long distance. Sometimes airplane travel is your only options, such as when you travel long distances for business. For frequent business travelers with a jet lease for flying private, it’s worth considering a private jet company that uses a more fuel efficient aircraft, such as a turboprop plane. In addition to the plane and airline you choose, some simple planning can minimize your carbon footprint even further. Also, don’t spend too much on your green flight; always look online for savings such as using a current Orbitz promotional code.

I recently took a business trip to Dallas and was fortunate to be able to book a direct flight each way. Since most of the fuel used by airplanes is used in takeoff and landing, my direct flight saved a lot of CO2 emissions. In addition, I packed light, taking only one small suitcase. This reduced the weight I contributed to the plane and thus the fuel use that was required.

Car Pool

Once I got to Dallas, I took advantage of a shared shuttle to get to the hotel rather than taking a taxi. This saved me both money and environmental impact. Finally, since I and another co-worker were both attending the same training, we only got one rental car between us. This helped reduced the emissions we contributed. We probably could have done more, such as choosing an airline that used highly fuel efficient jets. But with our budget restrictions, I know the little choices we made reduced our environmental impact.

Traveling in an eco-friendly way doesn’t have to be hard. Just look at all of your options and choose the simplest, cleanest one. You may not be able to walk where you are going, but even if you fly, you can make environmentally sound choices. Sometimes simple common sense is the best environmental stewardship!


This is a guest post from Anna Brown, a writer passionate about travel and green living, who is out to prove you can live green while still living large with things like aircraft ownership and yearly vacations.

Karla Urwitz
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2 thoughts on “Five Ways to Travel Green

  1. I'll definitely keep these tips in mind as we take our annual vacations this year.  Thanks for the tips!

  2. I never thought of being eco friendly while traveling.  These are some great ideas!  Thank you!

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